Series 12 in 2012 --- Establishing 12 spiritual mile markers this year!
Review of the 2012 so far:
Our 3 rocks signify the following:
January 2012 – 12 meals, 12 minutes of prayer for our 21 day time of prayer and fasting.
February 2012 – 12 minutes of Bible reading a day and you can read the Bible through in a year.
March 2012 – 12 people, 12 ways to invite someone to church.
Re-highlight the pens and the cards to continue inviting people out to church.
Sermon Title: D12 and Church Biology
1 person, 12 meetings this year & or 12 unsaved new connections for the purpose of
Our new rock symbolizes our new spiritual mile marker for this month which is:
April 2012 – 1 person - 1 time a month - 12 meetings this year for the purpose of discipleship and or make 12 new connections with unsaved people this year for the purpose of future discipleship.
The subject of discipleship: The missing ingredient!
I first want to make an observation about the church in America as a whole and how I think they are doing with this spiritual mile marker – I think the greatest failure of the church today in America is in this area of discipleship. The church has failed to raise up new disciples and the result of this failure is seen within our societies moral fabric today and spiritual immaturity.
• Fox News: Report on the State of The Bible
• Barna: Trends reports
Quote – thought: Being a disciple encompasses more than just asking Christ in, and goes far beyond baptism. Our conversion, our acceptance of Christ as Savior, our election, is the beginning, the entrance, into the faith and Christian life. It is not the only act of being a Christian! It would be like joining a club, but never venturing into the club. Baptism is initiation and public dedication. It is to be the door through which we go in our walk of faith, as is also our profession and testimony of our faith publicly. It does not stop there! It starts there! http://70030.netministry.com/articles_view.asp?articleid=31693&columnid=3844
Definition of a Disciple - from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disciple_(Christianity): A disciple is a pupil of a teacher or an apprentice to a master craftsman. A disciple is one who learns from a teacher or for another and they are students.
But discipleship is more than just a teacher student relationship it is a mentoring relationship for the purpose of helping another person grow and mature in the faith of Jesus. Discipleship is about a relationship with another where you speak into their lives and be there as a guide for the other person in the spiritual realm of life.
Video Illustration: Mentoring others by BluefishTV.
Listen to these following thoughts on discipleship:
Quote: Discipleship is the process of learning about the teachings of another, internalizing them and then acting upon them... (So) What Makes Christian Discipleship Different?...
Since you want to be a Christian disciple you are a student of the teachings of Jesus. But in Christianity a lot of the focus is also on following Christ’s teachings, not just learning them. This is a very important distinction... a student is someone who just learns theories while a follower is someone who learns and then does. To be a disciple of Jesus you have to learn what Jesus taught. But more importantly you have to do what He taught. That is how you can determine if you have really committed your life to Christ, you start taking seriously His commands and actually doing them. And once you have learned Christ’s teachings, you have to pass them on to others. You have to become a discipler. From Read more: http://www.christian-discipleship.com/christian-discipleship/chrisitan-discipleship-definition.html#ixzz1sOwLACdi
Quote: Biblical discipleship is a model of how Christians could and should live their lives in reflection to Jesus’ example and His mission. It involves not only a personal faith with God, but sharing that faith with other people, and building up more disciples.
Thesis: Jesus style discipleship focuses on obeying and applying His teachings and commands to our lives and this includes being willing to pick up our own cross for the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus also made it clear that we are responsible as His disciples to go develop more disciples for the Kingdom of Heaven.
18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Romans 12: 1-21: (The process of becoming a disciple and what a disciple does)
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
4Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
7If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
8if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
10Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
11Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
12Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
13Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
14Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
15Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
16Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody.
18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
T.S. – Let’s take a moment and look at the process of discipleship by Jesus. The first thing we need to establish is that Jesus commanded us to go disciple others. We have to pass on what He has given us!
I. The command to make disciples
a. Matthew 28:18-20: 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
i. Notice Jesus never said go and make Christians – no he said go and make disciples.
1. One is a fan the other is a committed follower.
2. Jesus dealt with people accordingly when they started following His ministry. He knew some were there for the miracles, for the food, for the excitement so Jesus challenged them personally –called on them to sacrifice and many of the fans left and quit following. When Jesus did something they did not like they left. So Jesus makes it clear in the Great Commission that we are not to make Christians (fans) but Christ followers disciples.
3. Disciples of Jesus have made the commitment to listen to Jesus command to go and invest what they got from Him into others.
T.S. – Jesus gave us a direct order shortly before he ascends into Heaven and that was -His followers were to go make disciples – fully devoted followers of God. Jesus even added that to be one of His disciples requires sacrifice on our part and the biggest things we choose to sacrifice for Him is our will, our life and our own selfish ways.
II. The process of the cross in discipleship is never easy.
a. Jesus made it clear to all who followed Him that they needed (we need) to pick up their cross if we want to be one of His disciples – that same challenge is relevant for today as well. Listen to what Jesus says:
i. Luke 14:27: 27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
ii. Luke 14:33: 33In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
iii. Luke 9:23: 23Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
b. Jesus made it very clear that part of the discipleship process is to pick up and carry our crosses.
i. The symbolic picture made by Jesus is a willingness to die to ourselves and to surrender our entire lives, possessions, wills, and plans to Him.
1. It’s a willingness to follow His will and not our wills.
2. It’s the choice to deny our ego’s, our pride, our desires for His.
3. It’s the willingness to surrender everything to Jesus – to God!
4. It’s a lifestyle that focuses on pleasing God not men.
5. It’s a commitment to the Bible and its teachings no matter what society may do to you..
6. It’s a decision to let go of worldly pursuits-such as fame, fortune and self-centered focus.
7. It’s the choice to be what God wants you to be.
ii. Jesus role-modeled for us what it means to pick up our own crosses and carry them for the glory of the Lord.
1. To pick something up is a decision on our part.
a. Recently I have been battling an injured back and every time I drop something on the floor “I think man I have to bend down to get that and it’s going hurt!”
i. But if I really want that object then I choose to pick it up in spite of the pain factor.
b. I have had to make the choice to play and pick up my grandsons lately knowing that it would hurt but I choose to pick them up out of love for them and because I love when they hug me and love me back.
c. The same is true with the cross we all must bear – we should be compelled by love to pick it up for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
i. As a Christian disciple I understand that my cross can become heavy, weighty, it can hurt but because of my love –my commitment to Jesus I endure that for Him – I do it to say “Jesus I love you not my will or way but yours.”
1. Do you do that with your personal cross?
2. Are you carrying it?
3. Or are others carrying your cross?
T.S. – Part of being a disciple of Jesus means picking up our own heavy – even hurtful crosses and carrying them for the Lord. We do this motivated by His love and sacrifice for us. The other part of the process of discipleship has to deal with wisdom, knowledge or learning about the One we are following.
III. The process of knowledge in discipleship
a. A lot of people pursue knowledge but that knowledge never impacts or is applied to their lives.
b. Knowledge is not just to be accumulated but it’s to be applied to our life.
i. Dr. Nichols states, “There must be a difference between the knowledge that comes from the gathering of information, and that which comes by revelation. The Pharisees and Sadducees had the best information anyone could have in their day. If you asked them, they would tell you they were in touch with revelation as well. But when revelation of the fullness of God stood in front of them with skin on, they called Him Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24)…How can this be? How can people who are trained in the Scriptures, some of whom are even anointed by God to perform their ministry, deny the revelation of the Son of God? There is a kind of zeal in the teaching gift when it is not submitted to apostolic and prophetic authority that is destructive. This zeal combines itself with pride in knowledge to oppose what cannot be controlled. And Jesus could not be controlled by the religious hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Neither could the apostles in the book of Acts…In Acts chapter 1, Jesus handed off the task of advancing the Kingdom to His followers” (Page 17, 18- Who’s In Charge?).
1. Notice Jesus did not hand off the Kingdom to His fans! Jesus hands the Kingdom of Heaven off to His followers – His committed followers! Those who were disciples!
2. So are you starting to see the difference between a Christian and a Disciple?
c. Titus 2:1-8:
i. 1You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.
2Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self–controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.
3Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted too much wine, but to teach what is good.
4Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children,
5to be self–controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
6Similarly, encourage the young men to be self–controlled.
7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness
8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
d. 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
i. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
e. Knowledge without application to one’s life does not make a disciple of Jesus.
i. It usually creates Pharisees and religious legalists who have head knowledge but no heart knowledge or experiences.
1. Thought from Blog site: http://treasurecontained.com/2011/01/11/heart-knowledge-vs-head-knowledge/: Have you ever been exhorted to take a truth from God’s word to the next level—from “head knowledge” to “heart knowledge”? It seems to make sense on the surface. Most of us have had times where we know something to be true, yet have a hard time feeling like it is true. I know God cares about me but… I know I can trust Him, but… I know he gives me the strength to resist temptation, but…So, how exactly do we go about taking something from head knowledge to heart knowledge?... The problem is not our inability to move truth to the proper location in our being, but our refusal to appropriate truth into our lives. In other words, the things we know to be true become faith when we live like they are true. If we sit around and wait to feel right about what we know before we live it, we are approaching things all backward. Emotions usually follow action and investment. It is perseverance in practicing what we know that builds faith and confidence in God. In this, we give God opportunities to show himself faithful…and he always will.
a. Colossians 1:9-10 (NASB)
… that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God
2. The point being made here is that head knowledge never acted on or applied to our daily life - does not change us – it does not cause us to be more like Jesus. There has to be an act of surrender on our part to do what we know we should do.
a. We have to take the teaching of Jesus and live it as well as believe it.
b. The difference between a fan (one who knows about Jesus) and a disciple a follower (One who has experienced Jesus and then lives out that experience in their daily lives).
i. The difference is head knowledge and heart knowledge!
T.S. – Head knowledge or the aspect of learning without application to our lives will never make a disciple – for example when Jesus called His disciples they had to believe He was who He says He was then they had to apply that knowledge and let it change their life which in the beginning for them meant leaving their professions to follow Jesus for three years. They put their head knowledge into action and this is what distinguishes the difference between a fan and a disciple.
IV. The process of multiplication in discipleship
a. Jesus modeled for us the process of multiplication by mentoring, teaching and equipping his disciples.
i. He focused on 12 people during his 3 years of ministry time.
ii. Then they focused with him on the 70!
iii. Over time the process of discipleship has reached into Billions coming to Jesus!
b. It’s the concept of establishing relationships with other like Jesus did with his 12.
i. Eddie Snipes states, “Discipleship = friendship with a Christ centered focus. The relationship is the most critical today. This is not because it is the most important, but it is the most neglected…Most people are intimidated by discipleship.”
ii. Proverbs 27:17: 17As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
1. Eddie Snipe adds, “Friendship is the key for accountability.”
2. It’s also the main key in the discipleship process.
c. 2 Timothy 2:1-3 – The “Timothy Principle” modeled by Paul is noted in these few verses.
i. 1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. 3Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
1. Paul’s relationship and friendship with Timothy shows the importance of discipleship and a need to connect relationally with others.
2. Paul mentored Timothy into the man of God Jesus wanted him to be.
ii. Eddie Snipes in “3 Principles of Discipleship” stated: The ultimate goal of mentor discipleship is to give our ministry away. We see leaders jealously guard their position because they forget that it doesn’t belong to them, but has been entrusted to them by God for His glory. If God exalts someone over me or raises up someone who takes my place, that is His will. If I fight against God, what value does my position hold outside of God’s plan? How do I know that God isn’t raising up someone because he has bigger plans for me? Even if God doesn’t, the greater benefit is not the position I hold, but the fruit God produces through my life for His eternal purposes. What could be greater than to be chosen by God to touch someone’s life that will go where you cannot go and do what you cannot do? Who led Billy Graham to Christ? Consider this chain of God’s providential events: A layman by the name of Edward Kimball led Dwight L. Moody to Christ. Dwight went on to be one of the greatest preachers of modern history. It was D.L. Moody that impacted F.B. Meyer and Meyer touched Wilbur Chapman. Chapman partnered with Billy Sunday and Billy Sunday had a major impact on Mordacai Ham. Mordacai Ham felt like a failure in his ministry and decided to quit. He felt burdened to do one more revival circuit. A sixteen year old boy with little interest in the revival was persuaded to go on one of the last days. That boy was named Billy Graham. From: http://www.exchangedlife.com/Sermons/topical/discip-2.shtml
1. We see how it is imperative that we connect with others to create disciples and raise them up – disciples are mentored, trained, taught, encouraged, corrected, and loved by another person who wants to see this person be all they can be for the Lord.
d. Ephesians 4:11-17:
i. 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,
12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
e. The biological process of cell multiplication:
i. Each of us began as a single cell. This cell couldn’t move, think, see, or do things like laugh and talk. But the one thing it could do, and do very well, was divide—and divide it did. The lone cell became two, and then four, then eight and so on, in time becoming the amazing person that is you. Think of how far you’ve come. You can laugh at a joke, stand on your head, read a book, eat an ice cream cone, hear a symphony, and do countless other things…cells divide, a topic that has fascinated scientists since they first observed it through a microscope more than 100 years ago.
ii. Scientists can actually watch cells divide under the microscope, and they have been able to figure out the rules of division by carefully observing the process, much as someone could gradually learn the rules of a game like football or chess by watching it played repeatedly.
iii. There are two kinds of cell division: mitosis and meiosis.
1. Mitosis is essentially a duplication process: It produces two genetically identical "daughter" cells from a single "parent" cell. You grew from a single embryonic cell to the person you are now through mitosis. Even after you are grown, mitosis replaces cells lost through everyday wear and tear. The constant replenishment of your skin cells, for example, occurs through mitosis. Mitosis takes place in cells in all parts of your body, keeping your tissues and organs in good working order.
2. Meiosis, on the other hand, is quite different. It shuffles the genetic deck, generating daughter cells that are distinct from one another and from the original parent cell. Although virtually all of your cells can undergo mitosis, only a few special cells are capable of meiosis: those that will become eggs in females and sperm in males.
3. Summary: So, basically, mitosis is for growth and maintenance, while meiosis is for sexual reproduction. The above from http://publications.nigms.nih.gov/insidethecell/chapter4.html
iv. My-tosis is a word that was coined in our staff meeting this week as we discussed the process of discipleship.
1. The idea behind this term is You-me-i-my must be willing to reproduce ourselves if we want to stay healthy as a spiritual body. My cells reproduce to keep my body healthy replenishing and replacing cells which die daily. The same is true in a church setting – we need to be reproducing ourselves and passing along the spiritual cells of God’s Word to others. Why? Because if we fail to do this then we start to die.
f. Why Cell Multiplication is Necessary? BY Joel Comiskey
i. When John Wesley died in 1791, he left behind a church of 10,000 cell groups and 100,000 members. Cell groups were so important to the Methodist Church that a person could not enter the celebration service unless he or she showed a ticket that proved he or she was in a cell group during the week. God transformed people through Wesley’s structure of cell, bands, and celebration. Many believe that God used Wesley and the Methodist movement to save England from spiritual, moral, and even physical destruction. Yet, the emphasis on cell and celebration died out 100 years after Wesley’s death. Why? A Ph.D. student explored this question and determined that the main reason the Methodist cell structure died was by allowing the cells to become too large. Instead of maintaining the intimate size of approximately ten people, the cells grew to 30, 40, or more and eventually became Methodist churches. The cell/celebration strategy disappeared because the cells grew too large. Transformation takes place in a small group atmosphere. Even timid people can share in a group of 3-15 people. When the group grows larger, only extroverts are confident enough to express themselves. At the same time, cells must evangelize and reach out to unbelievers and unchurched people. So how can a cell grow larger while maintaining intimacy? The only way is through multiplication. Cell groups must multiply to stay faithful to the mission of intimacy and growth through outreach.
1. The above from http://www.joelcomiskeygroup.com/articles/evangelism/WHYcellMULTIPLICATION.html
2. The key to remember - Cells multiply to keep the body alive!
ii. The church members of the Body Christ must also be focused on intentionally multiplying so as to stay alive and thriving because when you quit multiplying you start dying as a church.
g. So Discipleship must be an intentional process – we must encourage – command-and be committed to discipleship.
1. Barna reminded us earlier of the current state of the church: What are some of the more specific findings from his latest research? About 80% of Americans say that they are Christian, but only about 67% say further that they are “religious or spiritual.” Of all professed Christians, only 20% say that the most important decision they’ve ever made was to invite Jesus to be their savior. Even fewer (14%) make their relationship with God their highest life priority. What can explain the lack of importance placed on eternity by so many professed Christians? Jesus, quoting Deuteronomy and Joshua, said to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). So why is this generally not happening amongst American Christians?
a. Barna listed eight reasons why American Christians are not making God their priority, which reflects a lack of transformation into new creations (Galatians 6:15).
i. American Christians follow the cultural norm of comfort and security
ii. Churches measure attendance and maintain tradition rather than focus on individual transformation
iii. Successful faith bears fruit but what “American Christians and their churches measure is . . . knowledge, activity, and emotion”
iv. We don’t give ourselves up to become servants and to let God control our lives.
v. There are few Christian role models, and those who have been models in more recent times aren’t really viewed as “normal”
vi. There are a great many “distractions and distortions” in our culture, and we want to conform
vii. Church leaders are not addressing the spiritual battle in Christians’ lives.
viii. American Christians allow their children to “embrace the objectives of the society we are called to shape” – parents and churches do not really focus on godly transformation.
ii. What is needed to change this?
1. Motivation –Motivation-Motivation!
2. The Bible calls us to participate in our own transformation by being living sacrifices.
a. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2).
b. “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14).
3. Barna wants to help his readers to become transformed and to persevere along their journey to spiritual maturity. “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). “Blessed are the poor in spirit, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs” (Matthew 5:3).
4. Sources from above and recommended reading: Spiritual Maturity – A Definition ; Many Churchgoers and Faith Leaders Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity ; Research on How God Transforms Lives Reveals a 10-Stop Journey ; The Roadmap for Becoming Transformed ; US Religious Knowledge Survey among top 2010 stories.
We need to commit as a church as a body of believers that we are going to start to disciple 1 person this year and meet with them at least 12 times this year. We also need to be intentional about making friends with 12 others who do not know Jesus so that possibly a discipleship relationships could be developed in the future.
So you may be thinking: How can I grow as a believer? and How can I be disciple so I can disciple? There are several ways to grow and to be disciples – See our list of small groups starting up (See list). Be faithful to services, to prayer, Bible reading, make a connection with a mature Christian and start meeting with them.
Question: How do you disciple someone?
1. First you have to have a personal relationship with them!
2. You need to make sure they have a relationship with Jesus.
3. You need to help them renew their minds with truth and even correction.
4. You need to be willing to provide information for the one you are discipling using the Bible.
5. You need to teach them were to find wisdom for decisions in life- The Bible.
6. You need to promote specific skills and effective behaviors from the Bible.
7. You need to be willing to provide feedback to the one you disciple.
8. You need to coach them through stages of crisis, growth and life situations.
9. You allow the disciple to ask questions and you become a sounding board for them.
10. You need to be willing to be a safe person for your disciple.
11. You need to be willing to assist the disciple in devising their plan for life.
12. You need to nurture curiosity, possibilities and opportunities with your disciple.